"darkly enchanted fairground"
-The Telegraph-

"wonderfully quirky"

"luridly compelling fairy story"
-The Independent-

Sorry, The Grinning Man closed on 05 May 2018

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About the show

After a hugely successful, critically acclaimed premiere at Bristol Old Vic, Tom Morris’ new musical The Grinning Man transfers to Trafalgar Studios for an open-ended West End run. Based on Victor Hugo’s original novel The Man Who Laughs, this darkly romantic tale sees a strange performer hiding a terrible secret. Beginning performances in December, this lauded production is guaranteed to enthral audiences.

A gothic love story that is ultimately uplifting, The Grinning Man takes place in a spooky fairground. When a strange new act turns up to tell his story, there are many questions to be answered. Who is Grinpayne and how did he get his hideous smile? And who is Barkilphedro, the vengeful clown? Promising to be entirely unique and gripping, the musical brings to life a fantastical world with a very dark heart.

Original cast members Louis Maskell (Fiddler on the Roof) and Julian Bleach (Shockheaded Peter) transfer with the production, after Maskell received a nominated for Best Performance in a Musical at the UK Theatre Awards.

Directed by Artistic Director of Bristol Old Vic Tom Morris (War Horse), The Grinning Man features sensational music by Tim Phillips and Marc Teitler, with additional lyrics by Carol Grose, Phillips, Teitler and Morris. A visually stunning musical, the production also features sublime puppetry by Finn Caldwell and Toby Olié’s company Gyre & Gimble.

Nominated for Best Regional Production at the WhatsOnStage Awards, the captivating new musical makes its way to London for an open-ended run. The Grinning Man plays at Trafalgar Studios from December 18th 2017, with previews beginning December 5th 2017.

Who Should See It?

Those who didn’t have the chance to see the production in Bristol can now catch it in London! Fans of new musicals will thoroughly enjoy this acclaimed new work from some heralded creators.

The Grinning Man contains dark subject matters and is therefore recommended for those aged 12 and up.

Playing at

Trafalgar Studio 1
14 Whitehall
Seating Plan

Trafalgar Studio 1 seating plan

Booking period

5th Dec 2017

16th Dec 2018

5th May 2018

Running time



Suitable for 12+